Wanda Kiker - Hubert Kiker

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Wanda Kiker - Hubert Kiker - Investigator puts additional heat on suspect...
Investigator puts additional heat on suspect EDITOR'S NOTE: No one could prove Bobby Templin a killer, but as Christmas 1976 approached, approached, Texas Panhandle farmer farmer Norbert Schlegel and his wife Jaye Nell knew Templin had been unfaithful to their daughter Rhonda. In this installment of "Prairie Justice," the Schlegels find an ally in a stern investigator, who comes to share their suspicions suspicions about Rhonda's mysterious death. By MIKE COCHRAN The Associated Press ROTAN — It was no secret that the grieving parents of Rhonda Templin refused to believe their daughter died of a careless accident. Prairie Justice A flawed extension cord, a $10,000 life insurance policy payable payable to their son-in-law Bobby and Bobby's recently discovered philandering philandering pointed to something darker. Even as Norbert Schlegel and his wife battled the official skepticism of West Texas law enforcement, their persistence was beginning to reap unexpected dividends. A potentially potentially volatile revelation came on a tip from Susie Martin, the neighbor who last saw Rhonda alive on April 11, 1976. Mrs. Martin telephoned the Schlegels at their home in Shamrock to say her husband learned from a co-worker named Hubert Kiker that Kiker's wife had sold Bobby a radio only days before Rhonda's death. A lifelong resident of Roby, the county seat, Wanda Kiker was sales clerk at Roby Hardware. From the outset, the Schlegels were puzzled by the radio, which apparently apparently had toppled into the bathtub and fatally shocked their daughter. They knew Rhonda rarely listened to anything but her stereo, which could be heard throughout the house. They informed Texas Ranger Dee Vickers and local investigator Ken Crow of Susie Martin's call. Crow, who worked for District Attorney Frank Ginzel, dutifully interviewed Wanda Kiker. Mrs. Kiker told Crow it was probably probably about 1 p.m. on the Thursday . before Rhonda's death when a man fitting Bobby's age and description entered the store and said he wanted to buy a radio for his wife. "He told me she liked music," Mrs. Kiker said. "Carried it around all over the house with her." He looked at two small radios, both battery and electrically powered, powered, and removed the backs and examined examined the cords. He bought one for $35 or so and paid cash. Mrs. Kiker said the man told her he was a lab technician in nearby Rotan, Rotan, and as he started to leave, she commented on the "nice" sports car he was driving. On the following Sunday, when she heard how Rhonda died, she remembered remembered telling her husband, "Oh, I hope that wasn't the radio I sold." Actually, no one could say for certain. certain. The bathtub radio and its fatally flawed extension cord had disappeared disappeared by the time Susie Martin called the Schlegels by long distance. Even so, it was remarkable that the Schlegels even learned of the Kiker account, demonstrating again that little goes unnoticed for very long in a small Texas town. The chances of that occurring in big cities cities like Dallas or Houston would be slim to none. At about this same time, the Schlegels arranged a visit with Dr. Jarrett Williams, the Abilene pathologist pathologist who had performed the autopsy autopsy on Rhonda's body. Begrudgingly, Frank Ginzel sent Crow along to si t in on the interview. It was a pivotal trip. Crow asked to see the autopsy photographs, and he almost immediately immediately spotted the "mirror image" burns under Rhonda's right arm. He wondered how they got there. He was unaware of the bare-wire extension extension cord Jaye Nell Schlegel found in the vanity. But he sensed at once that Rhonda had not died as a result of the radio toppling into the bathtub. "It was the bare wire under the arm where the juice entered the body," he said later. "When I saw that, there was no way I could figure out how this was an accident." He soon persuaded Ginzel to authorize authorize him to officially investigate the death of Rhonda Templin. DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S INVESTIGATOR ..Helped Schlegels pin down their daughter's Courtroom lawyers were forever urging him to speak up, claiming he's too soft spoken to be heard. "Listen harder," he would drawl. He was not easily intimidated. With two daughters of his own, Crow was sympathetic with the Schlegels from the start He looked into the evidence, information information and rumors they had collected collected over the past eight months, and he talked with dozens of people who knew Bobby and Rhonda. He was impressed by what he found. For the first time since Rhonda's death, someone besides the Schlegels now believed Bobby Templin was a killer. In February, Ken Crow sent word that he wanted to question Bobby, and a meeting was arranged through Norman Arnett, a local attorney representing representing Bobby. Arnett was totally convinced of his client's innocence and had no objections. Right off, Bobby vigorously denied denied his extramarital affair with Melanie. "If it's true, tell him," Arnett said. "Just because you were having an affair doesn't make you guilty of murder." But Bobby persisted in his lie, even when Crow showed him documented documented proof of the Holiday Inn rendezvous rendezvous with Melanie on April Fool's Day. Bobby also denied buying buying the radio in Roby three days before before Rhonda's death and dismissed the $10,000 accidental death policy as a joint plan his wife had arranged through the bank. He said he did not know how the radio and extension cord got into the bathroom, that it was not there when he left to buy gas. And he had no idea what had happened to the missing radio and cord. Unhappy with the interview, Crow suggested Bobby submit to a polygraph examination. Arnett was not opposed, so firm was his belief in Bobby's innocence. But the lawyer sent him first to an independent operator in Dallas. Presumably Presumably the results were suspect, because the district attorney's office refused to accept them. That same month, Bobby took another lie detector test administered administered by a Department of Public Safety expert in Midland. It was "inconclusive." Poring over the charts later, Crow decided something was amiss. Bobby's reaction pattern was abnormal abnormal and puzzling, even those answers answers unrelated to Rhonda's death. "It's like he's dead," Crow explained, explained, concluding later that Bobby, with his medical knowledge, must Have taken some kind of drug before the test He wanted another polygraph test Before it could be worked out, the Schlegels renewed their request for grand jury action. They were armed now with Wanda Kiker's story and the photographs showing the burns on Rhonda's body. "We thought we had it made this time," Norbert said. Ken Crow likewise believed Rhonda's death was homicide but he doubted that a grand jury, much less a jury, would agree. "We don't have enough," he said. The Schlegels, their frustration level at a record high, persisted, and in April 1977 Norbert presented his evidence to grand jurors. They were impressed but voiced reservations. They decided to call Bobby and Melanie to appear before their next session. At that point the case took a sinister sinister turn. A man telephoned the Schlegels in Shamrock with a death threat. He told Norbert his home along the busy interstate would be extremely vulnerable vulnerable to intruders, adding: "You'd better drop this thing with Bobby Templin or they'll be another grave up on the hill." He refused to identify himself. About this time, Crow persuaded Bobby through lawyer Arnett to submit submit to another polygraph test, preceded preceded by a urinalysis to detect the use of any drugs. According to the DPS examiner, the second test indicated Bobby was deceptive in answering all questions about Rhonda's death. His sharpest reaction involved the radio he purportedly purportedly bought in Roby. "He must have felt like that was such a strong piece of evidence against him that he really reacted," Crow speculated. The D.A.'s investigator was now convinced more than ever -of Bobby's guilt but knew his latest information information was useless. The results of polygraph tests are inadmissible under Texas law and even the mere mention of them in court can trigger a mistrial. As he pondered his next move, the Schlegels received another threatening threatening phone call, and this time the caller identified himself. It was Bobby's older brother Jim. Norbert switched on a tape recorder. ' There's a man that made a phone call to you a short time ago," Jim Templin began. "He's got instructions instructions that if the grand jury takes any action detrimental to Bobby or if you proceed to pursue this thing any further past Thursday, those instructions instructions will be carried out..What you are charging Bobby with is pretty damn serious." "What he did was serious," Norbert Norbert replied. "That's yet to be proved." "That's what the process of law is all about Jim." "I know what the process of law is and I also know what harassment is, and that's something you've been doing a lot of...And I don't like any- DENTURES GENERAL DENTISTRY WITH GENTLE TOUCH SPECIAL: PARTIAL OR FULL DENTURE $295 OFFER EXPIRES 11/30/89

Clipped from
  1. The Kerrville Times,
  2. 07 Nov 1989, Tue,
  3. Page 10

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  • Wanda Kiker - Hubert Kiker

    dkliddell – 30 Nov 2012

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